The good news is you won a military contract. The bad news is you have to fulfill that contract. Military contracts can be a blessing and a curse for manufacturers. On one hand, they bring a steady stream of demand and cash flow. That can be a boon for nearly any business.
On the other hand, the military might be the toughest customer you ever have. They have strict, specific quality standards. Their invoicing and contracting processes can be difficult to navigate. They may often be slow to get you the information you need, but then demand a fast turnaround time.
Of course, there’s a high level of competition for military contracts. If you can’t fulfill your end of the agreement and meet the military’s expectations, you could lose the business to a competitor.
One of the biggest challenges for military contractors is the packaging stage. Packaging may seem like a simple step in the process, but it can make or break your success. Incorrect packaging can prevent the military from accepting your shipment, slowing down payment and threatening your overall rating as a contractor r. A slow process can limit your ability to meet deadlines.
Fortunately, there is help available. There are many packaging companies that have expertise with military contracts. They understand your needs and they have the experience to provide efficient and effective solutions.
Not sure if you need help from a military packaging consultant? Below are three signs that it might be time for outside assistance:
1. Your shipments aren’t making it through quality assurance review
The quality assurance process may be the most important step in your military fulfillment contract. After you package your products, the military has seven business days to send a quality assurance representative (QAR) to your facility. They’ll inspect your packaging, products, and more to make sure it meets military standards.
If you’ve followed all the military’s guidelines, your QAR will accept and approve your shipment. However, if you’ve missed something or deviated from the packaging standards, which are detailed in MIL-STD-2073, your QAR will reject your shipment. That means you’ll have to address the issue and go through the review all over again. As you might guess, that will delay your payment.
A military packaging consultant will understand the packaging standards inside and out. That means they’ll be able to develop a process that meets the military’s standards every time. They’ll know which materials are compliant, what kind of protective packaging you need, and any other relevant items. You’ll get packaging that protects your products and passes the quality assurance inspection.
2. You struggle to meet the military’s tight deadlines
If you’ve worked with the military for any period of time, you know that they sometimes place orders with tight deadlines. You may not be used to producing and shipping goods in such a short amount of time.
A packaging partner can help you overcome this hurdle in a couple of ways:
- They can help you design and implement a faster packaging process. It may involve automated packaging elements or pre-assembled packaging. There are a number of different strategies a packager could use to cut down on your packaging time.
- They can warehouse your products in their facility. Some packagers offer warehousing, logistics, and a wide range of other services. You keep inventory in the packager’s building. Then, when the military places an order, the packager can simply pull the product, package and ship it so you meet even the tightest deadlines.
3. You aren’t getting paid quickly
Getting paid is the name of the game with any customer. The faster you can pass quality assurance and deliver your product, the faster you will receive payment. However, if your payment seems delayed, there could be a few reasons causes. An experienced military packager could help you get to the bottom of the issue and implement a solution.
For example, your payments may be delayed because of the quality assurance or delivery schedule issues mentioned above. Or it may have to do with your administrative process. The military’s invoicing system can be complicated and difficult to navigate. If you get the information wrong on your invoice or submit it incorrectly, it could be delayed or even rejected.
Again, many packaging companies offer more than just packaging. Some offer administrative services like invoicing and communications with military offices. They can manage the invoicing process to ensure that your payments are processed as quickly as possible.
Your military relationship is too important to handle alone. Consider partnering with an experienced military packaging company. They can help you form a powerful team so you can leverage and maximize your military opportunity.